Thursday, 3 January 2013

A London Lunch No.1: Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food

The first of this new series of brief London-lunch recommendations is Middle-Eastern Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food located in my favourite area of London, Soho. Down a small back street off of Brewer Street, the Green’s Court location is slightly off of the beaten, and well-heeled track of the well known roads of the area but it’ s well worth a visit.

Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Lebanese and Middle-Eastern cuisine, having read my thoughts on Kaslik and Kenza, both fantastic evening entertainment and cuisine however Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food is a great day time location, laid back, informal café style – it does exactly what is says on the tin and provides good quality, tasty street food – in short a perfect lunch spot.

I went with my brother Dan, recently one Saturday and we indulged in their ‘Lunchtime Mezze’ vegetarian dish which isn’t mentioned on their website, but which comprised a small plate of delicious items. Firstly was quite simply, the tastiest, most aromatically fragrant and melt in the mouth fabulous falafel I have ever tasted, a little tabboule salad, fresh and herby and zingy with lemon, some gorgeous hummous, a ‘warak enab’ or a stuffed vine leaf filled with chopped tomatoes, onion, rice, lemon and finely chopped parsley, a ‘manaaee’sh cheese’ a halloumi filled pastry fried and covered in sesame seeds and a ‘fatayer spinach’ a similarly fried pastry, this time filled with spinach, spring onions and toasted pine nuts.

All of this was fantastic, and for one person would be enough for lunch, especially as a complimentary basket of pitta bread, olives and pickles arrives for each table.

Being the greedy sorts we are, and also wanting to try more dishes, we also ordered a portion of baba ghanoush, which was fantastically smokey, puréed roasted aubergines flavoured with garlicky tahini and of course, more lemon juice – this for me is the taste of the Middle-East and again, this is probably the best I’ve tried.

We had one more dish from the mezze menu, the ‘makale samak’ a basket filled with deep fried calamari, tiger prawns, white bait, slices of aubergine and served with a spicy, yoghurt and mint dip – once again delicious.

This lunch-spot is definitely worth a look, and testament to that was the fact the place was packed with people waiting for a table in an area filled with foodie haunts. We got change back from £30 and we both had a home-made flavoured lemonade too to wash down the delicious food – if you like this style of food then Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food will be right up your street.

Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food on Urbanspoon Square Meal

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